8 of the current F1 teams that make up the Formula One Teams Association have announced that they (with the exception of FOTA members Williams and Force India) will leave F1 at the end of the current season. These 8 teams are: BMW Sauber, Brawn, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Toro Rosso, and Toyota.
Continue reading after the jump for the full story.
The following are their statement:
Since the formation of FOTA last September the teams have worked together and sought to engage the FIA and commercial rights holder (Formula One Management, lead by Bernie Ecclestone), to develop and improve the sport. Unprecedented worldwide financial turmoil has inevitably placed great challenges before the F1 community.
FOTA is proud that it has achieved the most substantial measures to reduce costs in the history of our sport. In particular the manufacturer teams have provided assistance to the independent teams, a number of which would probably not be in the sport today without the FOTA initiatives.
The FOTA teams have further agreed upon a substantial voluntary cost reduction that provides a sustainable model for the future. Following these efforts all the teams have confirmed to the FIA and the commercial rights holder that they are willing to commit until the end of 2012. The FIA and the commercial rights holder have campaigned to divide FOTA.
The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored. Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006.
Despite this and the uncompromising environment, FOTA has genuinely sought compromise. It has become clear however, that the teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship.
These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners. This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.
The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.
Just look at the last paragraph above. The FIA is truly screwed right now because all the huge sponsors supporting these FOTA teams will be moving to the new series. They are not dumb, it was a calculated and well-planned decision and they confirmed with the sponsors first before announcing this.
It simply doesn’t make sense for manufacturer teams to take part in a race where the development budget is restricted, and if Bernie has gone this far, he won’t stop until he gets his ways with other stuff, like the standardised engine either built by Cosworth, or built according to Cosworth specs.
The new series will likely have an image and prestige comparable with F1 as it is made out of teams that stood for what F1 is in the first place. In fact if the big budget teams have it their way, the new series would go back to what F1 was a couple of years ago before all the big changes.
F1 could now end up more like a glorified version of the old Formula 2/Formula 3000 and Formula 3 feeder races. The rule changes have brought the technology bar down and leaves room for a new series to take its place as the pinnacle of racing. That new series may end up being called Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC), an idea of a rival series consortium that started all the way back in 2005 when there was already dissatisfaction with the FIA. The name is apt as F1 is said to be the spiritual successor to the original Grand Prix Motor Racing in the 1890s.
The FIA has responded to the FOTA’s announcement with a statement:
The FIA is disappointed but not surprised by FOTA’s inability to reach a compromise in the best interests of the sport. It is clear that elements within FOTA have sought this outcome throughout the prolonged period of negotiation and have not engaged in the discussons in good faith.
The FIA cannot permit a financial arms race in the championship nor can the FIA allow FOTA to dictate the rules of Formula 1.
The deadline for unconditional entries to the 2010 FIA Formula World Championship will expire this evening. The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list will be announced tomorrow.
We could see some of the entries that pitched for a grid position but did not get it in the preliminary list get slotted in, but the thing is I’m sure they want to join F1 to race with the best of the best, but now that the best of the best has gone somewhere else, will they still be interested? One of the teams on the reserve list N.Technology has already pulled out. Lola has also pulled out this week.